To start with I am an American married to a Japanese, living in Japan. Our son is about to turn 2. We went to the Anpanman Museum (its not a museum, its a play area) along with my mother in law a retired kindergarten teacher of 30+ years. Our son has a steadily increasing anapanman toy collection. We are pro anpanman.
On with the review:
The free areas, the mall and food are fine. expensive of course but similar to what one would find at say disney.
The museum. yes its expensive for what it is, and paying for any aged child or baby feels like a money grab. why go if you aren't taking a child, and for anpanman it would be a young child. But lets forget the price. A place like this is about the experience. I didn't see any of the anpanman characters walking around. although one must assume they do. We were there for 2 or 3 hours.
Simply put there is nothing of interest for anyone over the age of 5. At the same time there was little to help make a visit to this place easier for the parents. There were maybe 30 coinlockers to put bags and jackets etc in. But when 300 families attend with babies and young kids they fill up fast. Everyone else has to carry everything. I mean everything. The bathrooms did have changing tables etc but not a can to throw used diapers away. People come form far away, we are almost an hour, and have to take the diapers home. There is a large sort of rest/play area on the second floor. We were disappointed to see the toys (all anpanman brand) to be dirty, well worn and in some cases broken. Inexcusable. Seems the museum doesn't care about their appearance or their patrons.
The attractions: The museum which is more of a large play area consists of 3 floors. the 1st floor. admissions, a few coin lockers, a slide for kids over 3 years old. a little area of slides about a foot high for younger kids, and a little outdoor area with big playground balls. My son loved that.
Adjacent is the mini stage. We saw that show. Anpanman, Baikinman and a hostess basically do 2 dances while trying to teach the kids some of the gestures. For some reason volume in this little room filled with babies and toddlers rivals rock concerts. The staff did a fantastic job insuring the area around the top of the stairs was clear of the standing room crowd. I saw a staff member repeatedly gently push a 3 year old girl to her right because she was standing on the taped line. Her older brother had no room to move to make way for her, so she was guided with a hand to her torso several times until the row made room for her.
So first floor nothing really to speak of as a museum.
2nd floor. that big play/ rest area is half. There is a portrait room that has a timeline of the history of Anpanman. So that is a museum area. Then there is a cutesy area like an old Japanese street kids can run around.
3rd floor was most museum like. There was a big display of 3 foot high anpanman characters. And some moving displays and dioramas.
That's the whole place.
What they do have is not very creative or out of the ordinary. For such an imaginative brand it was surprising to see so little care was used in creating the experience.
When a family goes to disney or most other amusement or theme parks they cater to people of all ages. Not at Anpanman Museum.
There was no information desk. no one to ask about anpanman history or trivia or anything like that. We wanted to ask why there were no garbage cans for diapers but there didn't seem to be that sort of employee around to ask. There were lots of young staff around. But no obvious manager etc. I kept thinking there must be adults who are big anpanman geeks (after all the brand has been around for over 40 years). With big collections and love the brand. This museum offers them nothing.
my son enjoyed himself. But he is 2 and although bright and smart what does he know? He also likes going to the supermarket. Speaking of which play area in Ida Yokodo or Aeon would have been just as fun.
My wife, my mother in law, and I all had negative reviews of the anpanman museum. We all noticed different shortcoming or problems. I think my mother in law was actually upset. She has been a city employed kindergarten (preschool in america) teacher for 3 years. She knows what kids like and need, and also what makes life easier for those caring for the kids. Dirty broken toys, and parents carrying backpacks, diaper bags (with dirty diapers), jackets along with a child or two is not a positive experience. Shame on the Anpanman Museum.
There are several ways to help the experience. Some are obvious from my review. But some aren't. The closest subway station is said to be minute walk. its not, not for an adult and definitely not for a young child. Its also a bit of a confusing route. A shuttle would be such a benefit to patrons. It would even be worthy buying a ticket for the shuttle. But really it would just be good business.
to sum it up, stay far away from the anpanman museum. Watch him on tv. buy a toy or two. but do yourself a favor and find somewhere else to spend your time and your money. I don't understand why there are any positive reviews, we all went to the same place.
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